Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Owls, Please

Blogger seems kind of quiet lately. And I'm itching to read some short fiction. Why don't you write something so I can read it? With owls? Yes. There you go. Owls. Teeny fic. Please. Look, I'll get you all started:


He could turn his head all the way around on his neck, like an owl. His eyes were bright yellow. He swore he wasn't the devil's son, but who could tell anymore? I took his proffered feathers and tucked them beneath my breasts, and in the night when he sat outside in the one hundred year old oak, I pretended he was an owl. A few dead mice on the back porch, minus their heads, and I knew he was mine. My own owl-boy, screeching curses at the shadows, keeping the demons at bay, while I tossed and turned under snow white sheets.


Okay, that's terrible. You can all clearly do better. Owl fic!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Poem: Rapunzel, age 80; and then something about my new kitty

Do all sea creatures have gills?
           wondered Rapunzel
         with hair falling down like
                  broken anemones and white capped waves
 She'd heard the babbling brook, dipped a toe
      in the silent witches' pool
   But of course that was long ago and
                salt water was foreign to her and
                       she didn't know what mermaids were
When her hands showed lacing blue veins and crackling skin
      she knew no prince would come
     who ever would've thought, no prince!
And so she hoped the flood would come instead, rise to her window
         pour inside, pour inside
    running in rivulets then an inch on the floor
She imagined slogging through it, dragging her dress
             while it rose to her knees
                 to her thighs
                       past her waist (remember when her hair only hung to her waist?)
                            encircling her neck
And bringing all sorts of fish and sea monsters with teeth like pearls
So each day, she scratched her chest, just above
                 those sunken breasts
           hoping to carve gills out of her skin
                hoping to swim away with a sea monster so fierce it
                       could devour any prince that came along
She would ride the flood, ride it free,
      and there were no towers beneath the sea that couldn't be swum out of
  -- but this morning, the air didn't smell like salt, or even a possible storm
           not yet
      And she looked out the window and scratched at her chest
         with old yellow nails that only a sea monster could love


...and then she wrote some bad poetry about an old Rapunzel.

Word to the wise: the search term "old woman" on DA brings up an astounding amount of Wonder Woman art. And a lot of it is really, really disturbing. Things I cannot un-see. Though I desperately wish to un-see them.

Also, I have a kitten! Why did the link go on the word "Also"! I do not know! Why are you not clicking to see my adorable little guy!

That is all.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Unquestionably, he is beautiful. But I am sick of beauty and crave to let my eyes rest on sleeping cats, fat and clean on a pile of newspapers that fell on the floor. Mundane things, like address plaques with chipped numbers. A poplar split in two to accommodate a power line. There's a wishbone in the kitchen, hanging on a curtain rod. When it's dry, I don't mean to wish anything with him. He knows it's there; normally, we would have broken it by now, laughing, poking the winner to admit their wish. But he's very careful with his words. He almost says nothing. I'm sick of his beauty and sick of his morose silence.

It's like when someone dies that you have loved: If you are old enough, you know to wait, that another night will ease the pain just a tiny stitch. Enough stitches and someday, you'll realize you haven't thought about them in days. When weeks go by, you feel guilty. For not having thought of the person you said you loved. To their face, you said it. But you forgot them, for a while, and you feel guilty. And one day, you won't feel guilty.

There are only a few stitches, holding my guts in. I haven't got to the point where I want to tear them out and start again, but it's close. When I do, I'll look instead at the basil, yellowing in its pot on the patio. At the white lantern with the dead wasp curled inside. At the things that remind me that the universe sometimes neglects things, too, and I shouldn't be afraid to let some things go. Maybe even the beautiful things.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


He is bound in rope but not restrained. He could undo my knots at anytime. He chooses not to.

All of my passwords are on his arm, wrist to shoulder, in languages foreign to us both. I sometimes suppose he has translated them, but won't make the attempt to match passwords to bank accounts, email... It's rash to think this way, but the line of his stomach just now as he stretches backward tells me he has no interest in passwords.

When I'm finished with the coffee, the strawberries in yogurt, the sun having moved beyond the top of the windowsill to creep along the south wall, I whisper that I'll probably untie him when I come home.

The tattoo artist who speaks seven languages is coming over tonight. Another word -- but where to place it? In the veiled castle of his throat to clavicle, I see what silk scarves could hide: the word he has yet to use, to bother speaking.

On my knees, I put a mirror in front of him. His breath fogs it. With a finger, I trace the spot such a lengthy word in flowing script could be centered in, a spot of pulsing, warm skin. As tender as the flesh on the underside of his arm? We shall see, we shall learn.

I leave a bite, to remind us both. He trembles and says nothing. When I come home, the sun will have left him entirely in shadow, and he will be shivering, naked but for my ropes. I savor the image, and kiss him goodbye.

The word he has never said echoes in my mind, and I wonder: what if it were tattooed upon me?

What if I were marked with his silence?

The sun continues to spill inside our little apartment, and I shut the door, carefully, gently.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Husbands and Writers

I am married to a woodcutter and a tree thief. With the shaving and splinters they bring home, I make words that turn to sawdust, and then pulp in my hands with each night's tears. The weight of the paper wraps my heart in poetry, broken lines that evolve into a new work, until I am ready to bear their promises and grins (the thief) and bristly-bearded kisses (the woodcutter) again every morning. Whatever money exists to buy this place, let it come now: for I am tired of being the author of a barren kingdom.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

In A Purple Sky: now appearing at the Xeroversary

A super-bomb of flash fic went off at John Xero's place, and unlike San Diego, Xero kept the fireworks bursting in the sky in a timely, rockin' manner all this past week. I'm thrilled to be part of the finale -- the last fic up: In a Purple Sky. Twelve-year-old Jake waits for the bus each morning, counting the days until school is out...Until, in an abandoned field, a myth steps out from the shadows and changes his life forever.

(need an intro the Xeroversary? I've got a little one here)

And I made this for my story. It's what I imagine Jake sees when he looks across the street:

 Why won't this rotate correctly? Grr. Sorry for your neck twistiness.

This was my first diorama. (right now, I here all three of you reading this saying, "No shit.")

It was loads of fun, and forced me to slow done and think about things in a different way. I also made lots of mistakes, so in the future -- because, oh yes, there will be more dioramas! -- there will be improvements. For instance, apparently, scales matters. Who knew. And also, diorama glue is serious business. There is no wiggling things around. You glue something, stick it on something, and BAM! It's on there. No matter if you want it to be there or not. The good news is that the gryphon isn't glued down, so I get to take him out and play with him whenever I want.

Admit it. You are so jealous right now. Wait until I get a hydra for my next one! It will be myth war in here, bitches!

Thank you so much for reading my story and not saying what an absolute dork I am for building a really awful diorama for it.



PS I just found out that Chris Allinotte made something way better for one of his stories: a frickin' video! With an adorable zombified mummy guy with pins sticking out all over, reading it. So if you like thrillers read by voodoo mummy dolls, check it out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Xeroversary

What is the Xeroversary? Let's see, shall we?

Year Xero

"I thought you'd be happy."

He fingered the rose, black petals even then dropping onto the floor.

"I am, Sia. It's..." He swallowed, willing the words to come as naturally as possible. "A new world. We are born again in their love."

She nodded slowly, staring at him as if reading his thoughts. Of course she couldn't. She was organic, as was he. They would have to fool each other the old-fashioned ways. But when he left the apartment, it would indeed be a new world. And fooling the mechs would be much more difficult than lying to one girl.

She grasped his hands. "Say it with me."

"Year Xero," he intoned with her. "The year we were raised up. We praise our lords, the X77. May they rule always, in our hearts and minds. May they show mercy on our sub-standard existence."

He was disturbed the light in her eyes as she said the words. More disturbing was the new tattoo on her wrist, a circle of flashing data. She was linked to them now, a verified follower. A true believer.

"It's beautiful," he said.

She hugged him. "Isn't it, Hart? Don't you want one, too?"

"Oh, I do," he said. "But not right now. I'm not feeling well. Thank you for the roses. I think I need to lie down for a bit."

Out the door he guided his transformed girlfriend, her hair cut neat and short, her tattoo winking in the gloom of the corridor. He locked it behind her and went to the window, watching rain fall from a dark sky. Glowing spires blinked, transmitting information across the globe. In the street, the gleaming bodies of mech agents of order glided along, stopping the random pedestrian without a tattoo.

It was a new day. A new world. Year Xero.

Hart Sklar took the ragged roses from the sill and put them in the rubbish bin. And then he went online for the last time, just to send out one last message across the subdued message boards of the world:

Today is year one. 

He signed off. He had no idea, exactly, what he'd meant. But they'd be here soon, to investigate. He got his things together and slipped out of the building and into dark rain, trembling. First stop: the used bookstore in district two.

If he made it.


This week is the Xeroversary, a celebration of flash fiction at the blog of esteemed host, John Xero. Seven days, seven new worlds to string you up by your heels.

One of 'em might be mine.

Fantasy and speculative fiction, darkest horror and sci-fi myth and madness.

It starts off with Marble, a singularly disturbing tale of a young king and his mother, who brings him a present unlike any other. I loved this -- run and read now!